Washington Law Review


The recent decision of the Washington Supreme Court in the case of Sterling Chain Theatres, Incorporated, v. Central Labor Council of Seattle, et al., as to the right to picket, constitutes such a radical departure from the heretofore well-established law of this state, that a retrospection and analysis is essential to a better understanding as to the future solution of this question. In the instant case, the plaintiff sought to restrain as unlawful the acts of members of defendant union of maintaining peaceful patrols marching to and fro with placards signed by the council of all the unions, informing the public that a strike was in progress and to "Stay Out." Such men approached no closer than 100 feet to the entrance of the theatre, and were out of the sight of such entrance most of the time. The trial court did not decide upon the limitations of defendants' activities, but rested its decree solely on the finding that Danz v. American Federation of Musicians' Union was res adjudicata to this action. The Supreme Court in affirming the decision of the trial court held such acts are lawful and do not constitute picketing, when the pickets approach no closer than 100 feet, and are out of sight of the entrances most of the time. "But each case must turn on its own circumstances, and the limitations placed by the trial court on the activities of the respondents and their agents are, under the circumstances of this case and for whatever reason adopted by the trial court, reasonable."

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